The Chicago Bears boast a rich history among National Football League franchises.
The Bears, Chicago's storied NFL franchise, are one of only two NFL charter teams still in existence. Originating in 1920 as the Decatur Staleys, the team joined the American Professional Football Association on September 17, 1920, which was later renamed the National Football League in 1922. As of the 2007-08 season, the team has participated in more than 1,000 games, earned nine NFL championships and dominated to win Super Bowl XX.
With the help of founder George Halas, the Decatur Staleys began their first football season in 1920. Membership was set at $100 for each of the 13 teams participating in the American Professional Football Association's inaugural season. When the Staleys sponsor, Staley Starch Company, decided to give Halas the team in 1921, the Decatur Staleys relocated to become the Chicago Staleys. Part of the agreement to leave Decatur was that Halas needed to keep the Staleys name for one year, so in 1922, the team was renamed the Chicago Bears.
After the team moved to Chicago, the Bears were the first to buy a player from another team, paying $100 for Ed Healey from Rock Island. Signing All-American collegiate Harold Red Grange in 1925 boosted sales and brought in fans. With Halas acting as the teams owner, coach, general manager, traveling secretary and even player, the team thrived. After a 40-year coaching career, Halas retired in 1967. In the 1980s, Walter Payton broke the all-time NFL rushing record and the Bears won Super Bowl XX against the New England Patriots. The following decades saw the team fluctuate as they searched for a successful quarterback, but the Bears made a return trip to the Super Bowl in 2007 (Super Bowl XLI), only to lose to the Indianapolis Colts.
To purchase Chicago Bears tickets, spectators have quite a few options. Individual game tickets normally go on sale the summer before the season begins. For regular-season games, there is a limit of four tickets per customer per game. Also, there are no group tickets available for Bears games. Season-ticket holders must purchase a Permanent Seat License (PSL) and then have their name added to a waiting list. For a $100 fee per seat, the potential season-ticket holder holds the rights to season tickets for that one specific seat, including the rights to transfer or sell the PSL.
Since the team's inception, the Chicago Bears have played football in five different stadiums. Those stadiums include:
According to the Chicago Bears the new Soldier Field can seat approximately 61,500 and has a natural grass playing surface. The stadium also holds the record for shortest construction time for a modern-day stadium, as it took only 20 months to complete.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Bears have the most long-time team members in the Hall of Fame, with a whopping 26 members. Some of the members include Halas, Payton, Grange, Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, Sid Luckman and Dick Butkus.
Halas amassed an incredible amount of time with the team, acting as the owner for 63 years until his death in 1983. He was in the inaugural class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, along with Grange and Bronko Nagurski. Because of his dedication to the team and his role in the NFLs creation, each year the winner of the NFC Championship game is awarded the George S. Halas Trophy.